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40somethingahjumma

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  1. It's not any kind of masterpiece and doesn't pretend to be. For a rom com it's very decent. I've watched a few trashy rom coms out of the mainland this year and this is the one I've enjoyed the most. And it's not that trashy. So far. In all honesty, right now I'm liking this show much more than Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha. At least the people in this show are generally likeable and there's no protracted push and pull between the leads. They talk to each other and resolve things quickly. I don't even mind Nicky's character. 19 and 20 are quite interesting. They've even brought Xia Qian's dad into the picture, just in case anyone was wondering where he's been.
  2. I never thought I would say this... Once upon a time I would rather have shot myself in the foot first... but I don't think I have ever wanted a love triangle this badly. And I'm rooting for the Other Guy to drive Du-sik up the wall writhing in jealousy suffering painful torments. "Let's be friends. Men and women can be friends." Sure. But not after that kiss. Friends with benefits maybe. WTH. For a smart guy, Du-sik can be so dense. Implying that the kiss meant nothing and then pretending that nothing's changed. No wonder Hye-jin feels like she's being played like a fiddle. I feel on some level that he's punishing himself by not allowing himself to act on his attraction but then it also feels like he's punishing her while he's holding back. She isn't just being petty, she wants clarity and he's muddling the waters by giving her mixed signals and messing with her head. Even from where I'm looking he's trying too hard for a guy who just wants to be friends. Hye-jin has her faults. She can be a snob and she can be rigid about her personal boundaries. But some of the people of Gongjin are too much even for me so when she lost it, I got it. Hye-jin has a perspective on life I don't agree with but at least I can see where she's coming from and how she's come to those sorts of conclusions. It's a survival mechanism and there are people in this world who think that way. But I don't think Du-sik trying to "fix" her or lecture her is the answer. I know he means well but he always comes off vaguely condescending. The music festival reminded me of Sing! but without the animals. It was one of the heartwarming highlights of an otherwise frustrating episode. I was ready to throttle somebody. The nosy owner of the Korean Chinese restaurant is written to test all of us. However I really like how Hye-jin and Ju-ri connect over DOS and single dads. For some reason even though I'm more inclined to agree with Du-sik about how life should be lived, for some reason Hye-jin gets my sympathy.
  3. Although Yang Yang has improved a lot as seen in YAMG, LGX is the better actor all round granted he's got a few years ahead of him. Yeah... I'm really asking for trouble, aren't I? Rocks, eggs, tomatoes and water... (I'm up to Episode 11. It's addictive stuff.)
  4. @abs-oluteM @SilverMoonTea @Chocolate The show does get better and I'm somewhat impressed by the fact that it does a few things differently from other shows of this kind. It's actually more serious than I had expected. I like the fact that the leads work together to solve a series of sticky situations. and become closer as a result. There's some bickering but it's very minimal and nothing that makes me cringe. Misunderstandings don't seem to drag on needlessly so far. I have to say, Lin Gengxin has really blossomed as a lead male since Princess Agents. To Love was a fantastic drama, very underrated and that proved once and for all that he was lead male material. Without being duly unkind my sense is that the Ning Meng should be in a psychiatric facility. I'm not sure why the ex-fiance married her but he's bought himself a world of hurt. Meng2 is very paranoid and obsessed with him. Her sanity seems to be deteriorating as the story progresses. It seems to be a cautionary tale of getting romantically involved with former patients. It feels as if their entire married life is constantly on edge and he has to expend a lot of energy coaxing and calming her. At first I thought he might have an ulterior motive in marrying her eg. for her money but I'm starting to think that he felt compelled to marry her. Although Nicky and cat loving Shuang Shuang are cute, the fact that he's working against Evergreen and Sheng Zhening is a problem. His capable PA is obviously crushing on him and yet he only has eyes for the naive and sweet Shuang Shuang. It is ironic that this guy who is plotting and scheming in plain sight is falling for innocence. I like it so far. There's a bit more depth than I expected. But I am still worried about the number of episodes. I dread the treadmill of push and pull that's coming. I'd like the show to prove me wrong.
  5. It's not bad. Surprised to see Nicky Wu playing the bad guy with his own little romance. It's kinda cute. And I haven't seen Nicky in anything for ages. I was wondering why the female lead looked familiar and ah... it's Hao Lan. (Anyway, that probably doesn't mean much to anyone here) I like her. She's very competent and determined. The start is good but I don't know what to think about NIng Meng and the ex's impending nuptials. Maybe he had a good reason but a good reason without an explanation is still wrong. Something tells me that he can't be trusted. I am astonished at how open-minded everyone is. I feel the same as Sheng Zhening. Lin Gengxin is hot as usual. He's really good in this and his chemistry with Wu Jinyan is great. The guy's like fine wine. The older he gets the better he is. I'm watching this mainly for him and the main romance. It's not a straight up trashy rom com which I'm glad about. But what I'm really worried about is the 40 episodes. I just don't see it right now.
  6. That's a perspective I can get onboard with. It's largely escapist stuff helped by the aesthetics and becomes increasingly more enjoyable when the show does become more nuanced. When the characters become more fully fleshed out and less like caricatures (or tropes) it is a better product. The actors are generally doing a good job although I'm not sure why the actor that's playing Yeong-guk overacts so much. Something's lost in translation perhaps. The humour for me is a bit of a mixed bag. Perhaps from some of my comments I have been reacting a bit to declarations elsewhere that seems to be equating this with the second coming of Christ. It's a decent enough watch for a lazy Sunday afternoon but it's not exactly groundbreaking television. In some ways it feels like a really old-fashioned K rom com that needs updating.
  7. I'm relieved that Episodes 3 and 4 were better which means I'm still watching and I'll continue to do so. The leads remain the biggest drawcard and it would be a waste of such good chemistry as well as acting talent if they're not well served by the script. Right now I have mixed feelings about the writing. It's certainly an easy watch and the highlight of the last two episodes is seeing Hye-jin connect more with some of the townsfolk -- young and elderly alike. I especially enjoyed her interactions with Gam-ri and Ju-ri. Whatever her motives are, it's always far more satisfying when she takes the initiative to negotiate her own way into more congenial terms with the other party than when Du-sik leads her by the nose and preaches the art of compromise. I keep wondering if Du-sik's behaviour might not be interpreted much more negatively if Kim Seon-ho with his million-dollar smile wasn't the one delivering it. That entire road trip to Seoul with the senior ladies although humorous seemed to me also a case of really bad manners on the part of Du-sik et al. While it's not a huge imposition at the end of the day the presumption is still off-putting and shows (whether consciously or unconsciously) disrespect for another person's privacy and boundaries. It just so happens that Hye-jin is a much better human being than he imagines which is why there's no retaliation. HIs entire agenda is murky to my mind. He's trying to change her without knowing anything about her. Whether he realises it or not, there's a kind of superiority complex to that. There's a part of me that's willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. It could be a consequence of him being lovestruck. Or more seriously, an effect of the PTSD. Fortunately things take a turn for the better again in Episode 4. There's something satisfying about hearing Du-sik apologize. It's not that I think Hye-jin is perfect but it often does feel as if she's constantly being tested and scrutinized like a freak show in a zoo since she's the newcomer. The hamfisted comparison to the hedgehog is very suggestive. The fact that the fallout from the senior's party faux pas was only temporary shows that it was largely a plot device On principle I don't object to a highly charged combative dynamic between the leads at the start but of late (and this happens in C dramas too) the fashion is to have romantic leads knock heads as if every show has to have a Pride and Prejudice trajectory even when there's no obvious need for it.. More often than not, it makes no or little sense for the leads to put each other's back up except as some perverse whim which afflicts one or the other. The limitations of the script means that there's an over-reliance of conflict even when it's incoherent as the primary means for pushing forward the narrative. Making Du-sik's backstory a big mystery doesn't really seem to be helping much. His unclear intentions towards Hye-jin don't work in his favour. One thing that the urban and rural divide have in common are the busybodies and gossips. That's highlighted by Hye-jin's attendance at a uni mate's wedding by the conspicuous snobbery and backhanded mockery of the seachange. In Gongjin we have the doings of Cho Nam-sook who can't wait to tell Hwa-jeong that an old love rival is back in town. The gleefulness to witness the fireworks is disturbing. To say the least. I can see why Yeong-guk and Hwa-jeong's marriage ended up in divorce from their brief interactions although it feels to me that they could have tried a lot harder to stay together since both seem to still have feelings for each other. Bringing a third party in at this time might be helpful or it might turn into a makjang first before its usefulness in bringing two people together comes evident.
  8. That's what he pretty much said. Literally: "Her small brain is usually not that bright but in a fight she can be perceptive/alert/astute/sharp." It is funny especially when contrasted with Yanzhi's reaction to the entire situation. But what really struck me about that scene is how much her martial arts had improved. She took on all those men single-handedly and then managed to get away. She did okay against Qiu Ziliang too all things considered. As far as the OTP is concerned, it's often the case that people watch these dramas for the romance so they will be disappointed if they don't get their weekly quota. But it was always the case that the romance though important served the bigger story. I have to give the leads credit for selling their chemistry so convincingly that some viewers were left wanting more.
  9. Hi @IpohBanana I've been around here and there but last week was pure madness because I was empanelled as a juror for 2 1/2 days on top of other commitments but you can rest assure that I was on top of the episodes even if it took me a few days to finish the 14 episodes from last week because I was busy. It's been hard to find a good historical drama the last few months. I start a couple of episodes and they don't click. Out of sight... out of mind. But despite the bad editing in the first episode, I could see the potential in this one. I think I really liked Cheng Ruoyu's personality even if she seemed out of place in an environment with so much scheming going on but what she did always seemed to make sense to me on some level. I think it's a happy ending. Everything leading up to it tells me that Qi Yan faked his own death and chose to spend his happily-ever-after as a carefree commoner with the woman he loves -- the kind of life he always wanted before Morning Dew. After taking down Qiu Ziliang he told Yu'er that they could finally be together. He wanted her to go places and eat foods on his behalf. But he wanted to be sure that Prince Guang could be trusted and was of good characters. That was his final test and Prince Guang passed with flying colours. Qi Yan was someone who tested everyone constantly because he had understandably profound trust issues. That's why Yu'er works despite being seemingly out of place because her simplicity and unwavering belief in him gave him the strength to overcome everything and more reason to want to triumph. Before he did it for the survival of his clan but now there was a woman he wanted to live with for the rest of his life. One of the scenes that broke my heart into pieces is the one where he tells her that he is so envious of the man who will make her smile in the future. Tears are streaming down his face as he cries out "Why can't it be me?". Oh dear... that was a kick in the stomach. For me too Qiu Ziliang's villainy was exacerbated and perpetuated by little people who prolonged the problem through their greed. The aforementioned two stand out. On his own his was dangerous enough but when they joined hands with him, they made things worse and more people died unnecessarily. I also am of the view that Han Yue's attempted coup was another waste of lives and resources. But I guess that's one of the lessons from this show. The so-called good guys had to set aside their egos and agendas and just work together for the good of the nation. Maybe I'm too easily pleased but honestly for a palace drama the skinship we got between the leads were really generous. They weren't that restrained to my mind. None of the periods of separation were really that long and they usually served a purpose. The big surprise was that If you're interested in my ramblings I have written a few blog posts on the show here:
  10. @NiteWalker With regards to Yu'er being a bad fit as the Sword Bearer, the show does address that. There are reasons for that because her martial arts ability is not why she was chosen for the role. In fact to the show's credit there's almost nothing that the show doesn't address when all is said and done. Cheng Ruoyu is a great character not because she is a great martial artist but because she is reasonable, intelligent and teachable. First thing in the morning I woke up and remembered to watch the last 5 episodes. They didn't disappoint although I rolled my eyes at the ambiguous ending. But it matters little because the story overall was so good and whether a certain person lived or died really doesn't matter because it works either way. To me it's a happy/bittersweet ending because Qi Yan won and achieved everything he was tasked to do and more. He left the country in better shape than when it was bitterly thrown into his lap. He suffered and sacrificed much but in the midst of all that he was able to find love, a gift from heaven for a lonely monarch. The kind of love that would carry him through and give him hope. Of course we're reminded at the final phase that he couldn't have done it alone. In the end while he struck the fatal blow, he had help. There's no denying though that Qi Yan, Qiu Ziliang, No. 13 and Yanzhi were great strategists and their competing trajectories (whatever moral judgement we place on them) were fun to watch unfold. Measures, counter-measures and counter-counter-measures. I'm thankful that I happen to stumble on this gem by accident and it was able to grab my attention practically from start to finish. It's really rare these days for that to happen. Admittedly the editing wasn't great -- but it's a common problem in C dramas -- but the complexity of the schemes and the characters were really tour de force. Was it at the level of Nirvana in Fire? Maybe. Maybe not. But it was better than NIrvana in Fire 2 for me for the sheer fact of the how the characters were drawn and depicted. Villainy was brilliantly represented across the spectrum and it wasn't always clear who could be trusted -- which is the genius of the storytelling. The show never remained focused on one perspective which gave us a broader and more sympathetic look at enemies and allies alike. (Although after a while I thought that Cheng Xi really needed to be dead. And the new chess camp chief who was either on crutches or in a wheelchair) It's been a while that I cried this much for a drama but the last 5 episodes did me in as we farewelled one person after another. I honestly cannot complain about the acting and I'm looking forward to South Wind Knows My Mood to see the leads reunite in another highly melodramatic romance. Whoever thought of putting them together knew what they were doing. I bought their epic love story hook, line and sinker. In a year where romances have been very hit and miss for me, the way this was incorporated into the bigger story actually made sense. It's been somewhat modernized for contemporary audiences but it fits the leads' individual trajectories superbly.
  11. It's still early days to be sure but I am not as impressed as I hoped to be. All I can say in all honesty is that I'm watching this for the leads (especially Kim Seon-ho) who are doing a fine job of transcending a fairly ordinary script. The limitations of the script are particularly glaring as it comes hot on the heels of the wonderful Racket Boys which covers similar sorts of territory with more panache and far less awkwardness. What Racket Boys did well was to subvert our expectations of the locals and create a more congenial atmosphere from the first. While I'm onboard with the premise of the fish out of water looking for a seachange I'm not taken by the heavy-handed execution of conflict in the attempt to drive home some fairly obvious home truths. The comparisons with Camellia are clearly inevitable but it's really counter-Camellia in how it frames the viewer's perspective around assumptions about the newcomer's behaviour/ vs small-town idiosyncrasies in terms of what community looks like. My sympathies perhaps are largely with Hye-jin as it seems to be that she's being so deliberately made to look and feel like the villain of the piece with plot coincidences/contrivances. As a result the humour doesn't quite land for me. Moreover I'm not really connecting with the characters yet (they seem more like caricatures at this point) even if I have been enjoying Du-sik's flirtations with the elderly women. On the upside, I finally get to see smile-that-lights-up-a-Christmas-tree Kim Seon-ho up close with a leading lady that he has great chemistry with. Thankfully he's not playing second fiddle to anyone in this. It's a selling point that could cover a multitude of sins. The premise of the male lead as a jack-of-all-trades roustabout shows plenty of promise even if the pretty dentist city slicker comes to town one seems rather pedestrian. Already I get the sense that Hong Du-sik is being more than neighbourly towards Hye-jin. The childhood connection (groan)... trope alert... I can live with although it is so unnecessary. (Still I get Chocolate vibes from it) Who knows he could be on the prowl for a wife? After all as Granny says, he can do everything well except find himself a wife. A good looking strapping lad living alone on a boat on dry land with no equally attractive companion to hang off his arm seems like such a waste of romance material. Thoreau had his cabin in the woods where he penned Walden and Du-sik has his hilltop view. It's been a long time but I am reminded of what Thoreau famously wrote in Walden. "The mass of man lead lives of quiet desperation." Perhaps there's something autobiographical in that for Du-sik for whom Walden appears to be a sacred text by which he lives.
  12. @IpohBanana Although I agree that it would more prudential for Qi Yan be less demonstrative towards Yu'er, I actually like it that he is so open with his feelings in this drama. For some reason I feel that it's needed. It somehow makes him a much more sympathetic figure and gives her much more justification to go above and beyond the call of duty. Everyone thinks him a monster but being with her allows him to have a bit more breathing space... and find a bit of his old self that he's tried so hard to suppress. It might work out in his favour and it might not. I have a feeling though it's working in his favour as far as the Right Minister is concerned. It's certainly a double-edged sword for these two people to be so devoted to each other. Yes, the whole world can see that she's his weakness. But then it inspires her to be even more devoted which might just be what the doctor ordered. When Yanzhi says to him as he's leaving to feed her the abortifacient that Qi Yan cares a great deal for Cheng Ruoyu and it's because she's so loyal. It's the chicken or the egg question. I suppose she demonstrated her loyalty on her first day when she pretended to drink the sedative meant for Qi Yan by mistake. Yu'er pretending to drink the abortifacient is a call back to that first time when he saw her in action. It's fine @SilverMoonTea spamming pics of the couple. I love the OTP as well. It's a big part of the attraction here.
  13. Liu Misha's importance does lie in the strategic geopolitical usefulness of her country Zhenwu. They were all hoping to use her country's military in some fashion to break the power of Shencai army which is under Qiu Ziliang's control. I don't know why they made Li Zening so unlikeable and so desperate to get back together with Qi Yan to the point of nastiness. But she certainly serves as a striking contrast to Yu'er. Like all the other women who are trying to get in bed (literally and metaphorically) with Qi Yan in some fashion, they don't seem to know what he's looking for. Whereas Yu'er who has no expectations in that regard and yet over and over again without any kind of calculation shows her unwavering loyalty. Protecting His Majesty is her primary concern. Romancing him is incidental. Interestingly enough both sisters know this although driven by completely different motives. But because of Yu'er's pure minded devotion to Qi Yan, he can't help but be moved because she stands out. He is fully aware that everyone else wants a piece of him because of the throne. Li Zening had her chance and she blew it because her loyalty was first and foremost to her father. Qi Yan whether or not he vocalizes it demands trustworthiness from those around him. Like @IpohBananahas noted, Qi Yan is a very emotional creature. It's obvious from how he response to Yu'er. And Cheng Xi was well aware of that which is why she set up the so-called honey trap. He never wanted to be emperor but was forced into taking that role through circumstances caused by others. A life of carefree of adventure is what he was looking forward to. But the Morning Dew Rebellion changed all their lives forever and not for the best. Then the burden fell on him to take up his brother's mantle. That's in part why he sees a soulmate in Yu'er. This is why when he's with her, his flirty bad boy demeanour comes to the fore. In his eyes she's someone who should be free and living the sort of life he once enjoyed. That's why he keeps wanting to send her away so that he can live vicariously through her. Re: Episodes 27 and 28. Fantastic gambit that manages to put adversaries on the back foot probably temporarily. Both sisters working in tandem is always pleasing but it goes to show that regardless of what he thinks Qi Yan needs the help of women to get the job done eventually. Both are deserving of praise -- Yanzhi, the clever strategist and Yu'er, the courageous foot soldier -- in both the planning and the execution.
  14. @SilverMoonTea and @IpohBanana Yes, I've seen most of the spoilers already. Multiple times. I've also seen previews for 27 and 28. Heh. And in the Episode 27 and 28 previews Yu'er claims that The show continues to impress. The storyline continues to expand its web of deceit. So many twists and turns. The competing agendas, shifting alliances work superbly in concert with the characterization especially that of Yu'er. Her character in particular is very well written. Nothing is left to chance. There seems to be an explanation for everything eventually. Sometimes I wish Qi Yan would stop trying to push Yu'er away and just accept that she's there to help him. It would save them both plenty of angst. Every one already knows how much he cares about her and what he will do for her. The reality is even if she's cast out she'll never feel easy watching things from afar and he'll never be easy (despite what he says) with her out of his sight to protect her. It's not hard to guess who the Right Minister or No.13 is. Again, there's a reason why he's hesitant to go along with Cheng Xi's urgings. I am convinced now that Prince Gwang isn't a bad guy but he has his own agenda... or at least he did. It's likely he's changing his mind after spending a bit more time with Qi Yan and Yu'er and watching how those two interact. I don't think there are any real "bad guys" except for Qiu Ziliang. Everyone else is just doing what they think is right. I also wonder why nobody asks Yu'er why she's so loyal to Qi Yan. They all assume that he's the scum of the earth who forced his brother to die and usurped the throne. You'd think they'd ask her why she's so devoted to him. Han Yue's former maidservant kind of did. But Cheng Xi, Yanzhi don't. They assume that he's good to her because he's in love with her. It's true that she says that she's just doing her duty as the sword bearer and she's just fulfilling her oath. Perhaps they think it's just her simplicity. But as this video cut shows the lengths she's willing to go to protect and save him even while she's injured. How does a "fatuous ruler" like Qi Yan manage to inspire such deep devotion?
  15. I'm stunned by the results. I can't really make claims to being prolific. But thank you all who voted. *in a daze* *No Oscar speech prepared* Congratulations to all the winners and thank you Janghaven Forums for holding the competition.
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